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Sun 19 September 2021:

To date, the Taliban have reportedly not harmed any artworks or artifacts in their drive to consolidate power across the country. In February, the group’s leaders issued orders to its members to “robustly protect, monitor and preserve” relics, put a stop to illegal excavations, and safeguard “all historic sites.” The group additionally banned the selling of artifacts on the art market. 

The Taliban Ministry of Information and Culture says it has started to search for and locate Bactrian treasure, also known as Bactrian gold.

The Bactrian gold is recognized as one of the biggest collections of gold in the world and was discovered 4 decades ago in the Tela Tapa area of Sherberghan district, the center of northern Jawzjan province.  

The collection is composed of jewels and gold and was discovered from a royal cemetery. 7 corpses were decorated with thousands of pieces of gold.  

The collection is composed of 21,145 pieces of gold. The treasure belonged to the Kushan empire. The Kushan Empire was formed by the Yuezhi in the Bactrian territories in the early 1st century. 

Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban interim cabinet’s cultural commission, said they had given relevant departments the task of finding and verifying Bactria’s treasure. The problem is being investigated and we will collect information to find out the reality. If he was transferred (out of Afghanistan), it is a betrayal against Afghanistan, he told Tolo News. The Afghan government will take serious action if this and other ancient artifacts are moved out of the country.

According to National Geographic, Bactria’s treasure consists of thousands of gold coins from all over the ancient world and has been found inside six tombs, dating from the first century BC to the first century AD. They contained more than 20,000 objects, including gold rings, coins, weapons, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, weapons and crowns. In addition to gold, many of them were made from gemstones such as turquoise, carnelian and lapis lazuli, according to the magazine.

Researchers believe the graves belonged to six wealthy Asian nomads, five women and a man, according to National Geographic. The 2,000-year-old artefacts found with them exhibit a rare blend of aesthetic influences (from Persian to Classical Greek) and the large number of precious objects found have surprised archaeologists, especially the intricate golden crown found in the sixth grave, National Geographic said in 2016.

Bactria’s treasure was brought to the presidential palace by the former government in February 2021 and has been on display to the public. However, after the fall of the former government, concerns were raised about its safety.

Tolo News reported in December 2020 that Bactria’s collection of treasures has been on display in 13 countries over the past 13 years, bringing more than 350 million Afghans (over $ 4.5 million) to the country’s contemporary treasury. 





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